To the disappointment of many, Vancouver will not host an NBA pre-season game this year. Despite the success at Rogers Arena, the Toronto Raptors have decided to play in Honolulu, Hawaii, Portland, and Chicago.
The Toronto Raptors first hosted a pre-season home game in Vancouver back in 2010. They’ve gone onto host against notable teams such as Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, and most recently Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. The annual event was slowly turning into a tradition for local hoop fans, who will now have to look elsewhere for NBA action.
However, the Raptors did announce back in August that they would still be holding their training camp on the west coast.
Toronto Raptors Training Camp
Since Tuesday, September 26th to Friday, September 29th, 2017, the Raptors have hosted practices at the CARSA facility on the campus of the University of Victoria.
On Thursday, September 28th, the team will hold an intra-squad game open to the public.
“It’s an honour to visit a different part of Canada and prepare for our season in the first-class facilities at the University of Victoria,” said Dwane Casey Raptors head coach.
“We are extremely proud being Canada’s only NBA franchise. Our players and staff feel enthusiasm for basketball in every city we have visited. We don’t ever want to take that for granted”.
The idea of future NBA clinics and game isn’t completly out of the question. The NBA Canada’s Vice President & Managing Director Dan MacKenzie recently mentioned the associations current and future efforts north of the border.
“Basketball and the NBA’s popularity in Canada is at an all-time high, and we look forward to bringing new NBA events, clinics and player appearances to almost every province across the country leading up to and during the 2017-18 season. We remain committed to the NBA Canada Series and to bringing NBA games to multiple Canadian markets in the years to come.”
Basketball Across Canada
At a time when the sport of basketball is growing rapidly across Canada, the decision by the Toronto Raptors to not have a game in Vancouver seems puzzling to say the least.
The country has produced a number of athletes who play in the National Basketball Association. The list includes Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, Jamal Murray, and Robert Sacre to name a few.
Not to mention, the prospect of an NBA team returning to Vancouver is very much a reality.
When it comes to new teams, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has mentioned that Seattle is currently at the top of list, with Vancouver serving as another viable market for the association. Can you imagine a cross-border rivalry?
An ownership group led by Francesco Aquilini would give the NBA the confidence that a team can succeed in our city
Here’s to hoping we see Drake sitting courtside at Rogers Arena in the near future (before or after he eats at Cactus Club).
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